Battling Fruit Blotch
Sometimes keeping a disease from spreading can be as simple as staying out of a field once the disease has been identified. That was just one of the tips given last month by David Langston, plant pathologist with the University of Georgia, at the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference held in Savannah, GA. Addressing a room filled with growers, he told them that simply by walking through the field, they can spread a disease such as bacterial fruit blotch (BFB).
A water soaked lesion on the fruit is one of the main symptoms of the disease. The fruit, however, is still hard. “If the fruit is soft, you probably don’t have BFB; you may have phytophthora,” he explained. Another symptom of BFB is necrosis and splitting along leaf veins.
The conditions that are favorable to the disease include high temperatures, leaf wetness, and high humidity. Langston warned growers against using a traveling gun to irrigate. “A traveling gun is the most effective way to spread the disease,” he added.
Langston provided growers with a few tips to possibly avoid BFB or control it once it is in their fields.
1. Use Actigard (Syngenta Crop Protection) preventively as it has shown efficacy against the disease.
2. Copper can be used as a protectant. Once the disease has been found in the field, initiate copper sprays at mid to high rates weekly until the last fruit set.
3. Irrigate in the morning to reduce the length of leaf wetness. Foliar water helps the disease reproduce, infect, and spread.
4. Once BFB has been identified,
make sure that field is the last visited for field work before disinfesting equipment or clothes and before going into non-infested fields.